#childsafety | Capitol riot: IG to testify before Congress over blistering watchdog report on Jan. 6 security failures


The inspector general of the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) will testify before Congress Thursday to answer questions from lawmakers about an internal report describing a multitude of missteps that left the force underprepared for the Jan. 6 riot. 

The 104-page watchdog report prepared by Capitol Police Inspector General Michael A. Bolton was released internally last month. It detailed how riot shields had shattered upon impact, expired weapons couldn’t be used, officers had inadequate training and the department’s intelligence division had few set standards, according to The Associated Press, which obtained a copy of the report before Thursday’s hearing. 

It adds to what is already known about broader security and intelligence failures that Congress has been investigating since rioters breached barricades and stormed the building on Jan. 6, temporarily interrupting Congress as it certified President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory over former President Donald Trump. 

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Bolton is scheduled to testify before the House Administration Committee at 1 p.m. Thursday. 

In his prepared opening remarks obtained by Fox News on Wednesday, Bolton said the Office of the Inspector General would release another report on April 30, and the U.S. Capitol Police needed to transition from a police department to a protective agency.

“As our work continues, my office sees continuing areas in our findings that USCP needs address. Those areas are Intelligence, Training, Operational Planning, and culture change,” Bolton wrote in his prepared statement.

As for a culture change, Bolton offered that a “move away” from serving as a traditional police department and shift to a protective agency is in order. “A police department is a reactive force. A crime is committed; police respond and make an arrest,” Bolton declared in his statement, “Whereas, a Protective Agency [sic] is postured to being proactive to prevent events such as January 6th.”

Bolton also outlined recommendations to increase its intelligence resources’ efficiency, including reorganizing its intelligence functions into a single intelligence bureau.

“A formal Intelligence Training Program [sic] is necessary; otherwise, the Department cannot ensure the proper training of its intelligence employees or ensure that they are up to date on policies and procedures related” to Intelligence and Interagency Coordination Division (IICD) personnel duties he said.

“Furthermore, implementing additional formal guidance that applies to USCP’s collection, processing, and reporting of information would improve its ability to effectively disseminate intelligence throughout the Department.”

Bolton described correspondence between the U.S. Capitol Police and the FBI regarding the FBI’s “situational information report” before Jan. 6. Late in the evening on Jan. 5, a U.S. Capitol Police task force officer assigned to the FBI Guardian Squad Task Force “pulled the memorandum from the FBI system” and sent it to a USCP Intelligence Operations Section email distribution list, according to Bolton. 

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In an extensive and detailed timeline of that day, the report describes conversations between officials as they disagreed on whether National Guard forces were necessary to back up the understaffed Capitol Police force. It quotes an Army official as telling then-Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund that “we don’t like the optics of the National Guard standing in a line at the Capitol” after the rioters had already broken in.

Bolton found that the department’s deficiencies were — and remain — widespread. The force’s equipment was old and stored badly. Leadership had failed to act on previous recommendations to improve intelligence. In addition, there was a broad lack of current policies or procedures for the Civil Disturbance Unit, a division that existed to ensure that legislative functions of Congress were not disrupted by civil unrest or protest activity. 

The report comes as the Capitol Police force has plunging morale and has edged closer to a crisis as many officers have been working extra shifts and forced overtime to protect the Capitol after the riot. Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman received a vote of no confidence from the union in February, reflecting widespread distrust among the rank and file.

The force is grieving the deaths of two of their own — Officer Brian Sicknick, who collapsed and died after engaging with protesters on Jan. 6, and Officer William “Billy” Evans, who was killed April 2 when he was hit by a car that rammed into a barricade outside the Senate. Evans laid in honor in the Capitol Rotunda on Tuesday.

Capitol Police have so far refused to publicly release the report — marked throughout as “law enforcement sensitive” — despite congressional pressure to do so.

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A timeline attached to the report gives a more detailed look at Capitol Police movements, commands and conversations as the events of Jan. 6 unfolded. It looks at how the department scrambled to move staff and equipment to multiple fronts where people were breaking in.

The timeline sheds new light on conversations in which Sund begged for National Guard support. Sund and others, including the head of the D.C. National Guard, has testified that Pentagon officials were concerned about the optics of sending help.

The document gives the clearest proof of that concern yet. It quotes Army Staff Secretary Walter Piatt telling Sund and others on a call that “we don’t like the optics” of the National Guard at the Capitol and he would recommend not sending them. That was at 2:26 p.m., as rioters had already broken through windows and as Sund desperately asked for help.

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The Pentagon eventually approved the Guard’s presence units arrived after 5 p.m. While they were waiting, Sund also had a teleconference with Vice President Mike Pence, the timeline shows. Pence was in a secure location in the Capitol because he had overseen the counting of the votes, and some of the rioters were calling for his hanging because he had indicated he would not try to overturn President Joe Biden’s election win.

The AP reported Saturday that Pence also had a conversation that day with acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller in which he directed that he “Clear the Capitol.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 



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